Keenan Reynolds: What to expect in 2014

Keenan Reynolds

It is safe to say that Keenan Reynolds went above and beyond all expectations on the football field in 2013. In truth that is quite the feat considering the hype and promise with which Reynolds entered his sophomore season after his stellar performances as a freshman.

It is safe to say that Keenan Reynolds went above and beyond all expectations on the football field in 2013. In truth that is quite the feat considering the hype and promise with which Reynolds entered his sophomore season after his stellar performances as a freshman. Now, though, is when it really gets tough for Reynolds and his development. Most analysts will tell you that by far the biggest growth comes in the sophomore season as the player matures and the game slows down. Is it possible that Reynolds will be able to buck this trend and increase his playmaking abilities for another two years in Annapolis?

First we have to look back to move forward. Reynolds' stats in 2013 were, quite simply, off the charts. He set an NCAA single-season rushing record for touchdown runs by a quarterback with 31. He also finished with 1,346 rushing yards, good for third on the quarterback stat sheet at the Naval Academy behind two of the school's best in Napoleon McCallum and Chris McCoy. He was named on a host of post season all-star teams, and was white hot to finish the year when his performances let him to be named the FBS All-Independent Offensive Player of the Year.

Reynolds 31 touchdown runs this past fall were roughly three times as many as the 10 he put together in 2012. Statistically speaking this means he should run for 90 in 2014 and 270 as a senior. Knowing the Heisman Trophy voters penchant for only supporting poster boys from major conference schools, this would likely be enough for Reynolds to go to New York as a finalist but not bring home the hardware.

In all seriousness, it is not unrealistic to expect Reynolds to make some noise in the Heisman race this coming fall. In order to do that the Mids would probably have to take down Ohio State in their opener on the last Saturday in August. Obviously this would be a major upset, but stranger things have happened in the opening weeks of the season when preparedness and discipline can often trump athletic talent in a one off game. If Reynolds can show big in this game then his names will be on the lips of all the pundits moving forward.

Improving on the rushing numbers would be foolhardy to predict, but Reynolds should at least be able to get close to replicating them. He doesn't make mistakes with the ball in the ground game and he has field vision which is in the top five percent of any player in the nation. Where the Tennessee native may look to improve is his passing accomplishments. He is certainly a good enough passer that he should be able to improve on his 53 percent completion rate and eight touchdown passes with more time in the system and more emphasis on the long ball.

To finish this I am going to pull a quote from a guy who knows a little bit about playing quarterback at Navy, and a little bit about winning the Heisman for that matter. When asked about Reynolds at the Armed Forces Bowl Luncheon Roger Staubach gushed, "Keenan is really quick and a great athlete. He's got a little Johnny Manziel in him." If Reynolds can channel his inner Johnny Football on a consistent basis in the fall then the sky is the limit for both him and the program.

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